Caroline Kennedy's Collection of Poems on Womanhood


The book is divided into sections that seem broad enough to encompass the milestones in a woman's life -- "Falling in Love," "Breaking Up," "Marriage," "Motherhood," "Death and Grief"—but they are intended as helpful, if arbitrary, dividers. Other sections are about some of the things that make us happy, like "Friendship" or "Beauty." My favorite section is the one titled "How to Live." It includes the poems that started this book, and many others, each containing wisdom that has helped me on my own journey.

Collecting these poems reminded me that when I was younger, I thought my task was to forge ahead and succeed as an individual. But growing older has helped me realize that our success lies in our relationships -- with the family we are born into, the friends we make, the people we fall in love with, and the children we have. Sometimes we struggle, sometimes we adapt, and at other times we set a course for others to follow. We are all leaders and followers in our lives. We are constantly learning from and teaching one another. We learn, too, that the most important work is not done by those who seem the most important, but by those who care the most.

Women have always been the weavers of the world, literally and figuratively. We weave people together, we weave the experiences of life into patterns, and we weave our stories into words. Poetry has been one of the ways we do this. Poems distill our deepest emotions into a very few words -- words that we can remember, carry with us, and share with others as we talk and weave the cloth of life.

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